Australian footballers tackle homophobia

Australian footballers tackle homophobia

Matthew Pavlich (Dockers)

Gays in professional sport have long had an uphill battle in publicly acknowledging their off pitch sexuality.
The obvious perceptions of machismo and sporting prowess are not something that is frequently associated with homosexuals.
For this reason, many professional sports players that are gay struggle with 'coming out' in fear of the backlash from fans that may no longer want to celebrate or support a ‘gay’ football player.

Recently dozens of top AFL players and coaches have come together to support an “inclusion and diversity” campaign, that is designed to stamp out homophobia. The sportsmen have been photographed holding handwritten signs inscribed with messages of diversity and acceptance. This highly commendable campaign includes some of Australian footballs biggest names such as Adam Goodes and Jimmy Bartel. Encouragingly it is not just AFL but Rugby Union and Rugby League players that are also getting involved.

Whilst this is positive news for Australian sport, in other countries the level of acceptance is still unfortunately low. Earlier this year the English football league failed in its attempts to start a similar campaign, when the majority of its players refused to take part. In the United States no professional team sportsman has ever come out as gay whilst still playing. Lets hope that actions such as this will begin to create awareness that sexual preference holds no relevance when you are playing, watching or supporting sport.

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